Extensions into the Upper Solar Atmosphere (January 29, 2010)
With two active regions (brighter areas) in profile almost diametrically apart, SOHO got a gook view of the extensive areas above the Sun influenced by the powerful magnetic fields associated with the two regions. This wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light "sees" ionized iron heated to 2 million degrees in the upper solar atmosphere. The hotter the temperature, the higher you look in the solar atmosphere. Although the image is rather diffuse, we can more clearly see in other wavelengths that material is tracing arcs of magnetic field lines looping above the active regions. Just a few months ago, the large-scale solar magnetic field was like that from a bar magnet, and flattened along the Sun's equator. Now, it's not much more complicated in shape, but it's tilted, as seen by the position of these two regions --- a clear giveaway that the rise to solar maximum has begun.
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